Recently the Center for Disease Control released a vaccination coverage study with good news and bad news. The good news was that the vaccination rate for kindergarteners nationally was over 90 percent. The bad news is that Washington State had the highest percentage of children excused by parents, 6.2 percent, or 5,015 kid-sized disease vectors.
WebMD reports the the “vast majority” of Washington parents who excused their kindergarteners from vaccinations did so on philosophical grounds. The site quotes Michele Roberts of the Washington State Department of Health: “Chickenpox outbreaks are a continual problem in our state and last year two infants died of pertussis [whooping cough]. In these cases there was not enough community protection to protect these infants.”
In Washington, the department of health notes in a pertussis fact sheet, “The rate of disease in infants under one year of age, 27.1 per 100,000, remains higher than rates in all other age groups.” As of last year, Washington began flirting with the epidemic threshold for whooping cough.
As much as I’m drawn to emphasize what an act of violence it is to use language to describe this virulent combination of know-nothingness and self-centeredness as a “philosophy,” what really needs to be underlined here is the suffering and deaths of children.
The CDC doesn’t track the hours parents listen to their infant cough itself into pneumonia and brain damage, but surely that needs to be weighed in the balance with whatever “philosophy” promotes bringing back the host of scourges vaccinations protect us from. (It’s probably not coincidental that Washington’s rate of unvaccinated kindergarteners doubled during the years of vaccinations-cause-autism misinformation.)
As it happens, this July a new law will require opting-out parents to supply a note from a licensed health care provider, as evidence that despite having heard the benefits and risks of vaccination, they still prefer to put the lives of their children and others at risk.